Denmark – Vietnam Bilateral Ties Closer

Danish investment in Vietnam
The Danish Ambassador to Vietnam, Peter Lysholt Hansen, says that even if Danish investments in Vietnam are modest, there is a steadily growing and rather strong interest from Danish companies within a broad range of sectors. The marine sector is a very encouraging example.
Denmark has been working closely with the Viet Nam Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (Vinashin) for several years and several major Danish companies have become involved as investors as well as suppliers. Danish ship owners has become active in Vietnam. For example, Aalborg Industries and Vinashin have opened a new factory in Hai Phong to produce marine boilers. Several other Danish consultants and supplies are also involved in the building of the 53,000 DWT ships at Vinashin’s shipyards.
Within the past six months, more than 40 Danish companies have visited Vietnam, and more will come in the near future. There is an expectation for a bug delegation to visit Vinashin and the shipyards early next year.
There is also a strong Danish investment interest in garments, furniture and electronics. The Danish Sonion, produced miniature acoustic components, is building a US$ 25 million production plant in Sai Gon High Tech Park, and this will probably inspire other Danish companies to follow.
There are 60 Danish companies presented in Vietnam so far and it’s reasonable to hope that the number will be double within the next few years. But the increasing in the commitment of Danish and other foreign investments to Vietnam depends on the continued reforms in banking and legal system, and also corruption which is of very serious concern to investors in Vietnam.

Danish Official Development Assistance (ODA) for Vietnam
The results of development cooperation between Denmark and Vietnam during the last five years have been good. As examples, it can be mentioned that more than 350,000 farmers have increased their incomes considerably that more than 500,000 people have been supplied with safe water and that Vietnam’s seafood exports have increased from US$1.5 billion in 2000 to US$2.65 billion in 2005.
The Danish government recently approved a new strategy, which is the framework for our cooperation 2006-10. It is only natural that some adjustments will be made, as Vietnam develops economically and socially.
According to the new strategy, the overall objective of Danish development assistance to Vietnam is poverty reduction through promotion of sustainable, private sector-led development and strengthening of democratization, respect for human rights and good governance.
The Danish development assistance will be fully aligned with Vietnam’s Socio-Economic Development Plan 2006-10. At the same time Denmark will actively promote the harmonization agenda in Vietnam and use any opportunity to establish joint funding arrangements with other donors and, where possible, replace separate Danish reviews with joint donor reviews.
The major part of the interventions will be in the Central Highlands and Northern provinces of Vietnam where poverty is high and the presence of ethnic minorities is considerable.

Denmark’s support on the Vietnamese judiciary and public administration reform
Respect for human rights, rule of law and good governance is fundamental principles in an independent and democratic society. These are essential principles that govern Denmark’s domestic and international policies and are the background for the long-term Danish support to the legal and judicial sector as well as the public administration reform in Vietnam.
Access to justice is an essential element in ensuring the rights of the individual and in respecting the fundamental principles of political and civil rights. But also from an economic perspective is access to justice and a fair trial important. Private sector development with increased foreign investments and further integration into the global economy will require a well-functioning legal and judicial sector.
A transparent, predictable and effective public sector is a fundamental requirement for Vietnam’s further economic and social development, for two reasons. First, it will deliver a professional and better service to the advantages of the individual, and especially for the poor. Second, it will be a basic and fundamental element in the intensified fight against corruption.

Shared experiences on preventing and fighting against bird flu
In 2005 Denmark supported Vietnamese efforts to counter the spread of bird flu through the small livestock component of the agricultural sector program support. This support consisted mainly of a grant spent on disease prevention, communication and laboratory equipment as well as information materials. It had a geographically wide scope, thus technical support reached 49 provinces whereas information material reached all 64 provinces. In total, US$ 300,000 was given in 2004, and a further US$ 1.7 million was followed in 2005.
The support was given with a short response time of less than two months, which has impressed many, as few donors were able to act with such swiftness.
The review considered the Danish support to be both ‘highly relevant and well considered’. It benefited a large proportion of its target group; information leaflets reached 10 out of an estimated 12 million rural households.
The Danish support therefore appears to have contributed significantly to the positive status of bird flu in Viet Nam.

Denmark’s support in the future
Future Danish support will mainly be in the area of policy advice. However, the option of allocating further funds in case of an emergency remains.

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